PORT MARIA, St Mary, Jamaica, Thursday, July 26, 2018: Tourism Minister, Hon Edmund Bartlett has underscored that “our culture and heritage are the bedrock upon which Jamaica’s tourism has been built” and must be preserved.
Describing it, he said “it is rich, vibrant, multi-cultural and born out of a dynamic and tumultuous history that has influenced our music, our food, our visual and performing arts, even our native tongue.”
It was in that context that Minister Bartlett welcomed Rio Nuevo Village in St Mary expanding its attractions to include rafting and kayaking. “This landmark north coast attraction is evidence of Jamaica’s rich culture,” said Mr. Bartlett, adding that 30 acres was a historic site once home to one of the biggest Taino settlements in the parish. As a multi-dimensional attraction it offers a museum with one of the most comprehensive collections of Taino artefacts in Jamaica.
“We welcome attractions like Rio Nuevo Village which expand our offering and enhance the overall tourism experience,” said Minister Bartlett in declaring it open yesterday. “As Jamaicans, we have embraced our culture wholeheartedly; we fiercely defend it and are proud to share it with the world.”
He said while Jamaica was a sun, and a sea destination “the strategic direction of my ministry is taking us to transform the sector into a product-focussed one. This is the outgrowth of a global movement towards more interactive experiential tourism. More and more visitors are seeking life experiences through travel; they want to live as locals, engaging with the people of the destination they visit, walking the streets, eating their food and dancing to their music.”
Rio Nuevo Village has been in operation for the past seven years and owner, David Wilson said he invested over US$2 million to develop the attraction. Rafting and kayaking will now add to the museum, nature walk and other activities. Future plans include construction of cottages and other projects which will be supported by partners who have joined in the venture.
It’s open: Minister of Tourism, Hon Edmund Bartlett (3rd left in front) holds up a pair of scissors in salute after cutting the ribbon to officially launch rafting and kayaking at the Rio Nuevo Village attraction in St Mary on Wednesday, July 25, 2018. Among those sharing are (front row from left) Chairman of the Tourism Enhancement Fund, Godfrey Dyer; Councillor Krystal Lee; owner of the attraction David Wilson; Mayor of Port Maria, Richard Creary and Burchell James who chaired the launch.